I don’t know when I stopped listening to music.
It’s not that I don’t catch a random tune on the radio or keep up with modern hits — peripherally, at least. I mean, I know “Blank Space” and such. I’m not hopelessly out of touch.
When I was commuting to college, the two-hour drive daily on the Beltway was a medley of Hanson, John Mayer, Maroon 5, The Killers, Coldplay. Circa 2006, coed Meg was pretty hip. My first iPod came as a Christmas present in 2004, and that little pink Mini accompanied me everywhere. I can still remember the long walks across campus with Death Cab for Cutie for company. It was a little lonely back then, I’ll admit — but peaceful, too.
After graduation, my two-hour commute became a 10-minute back-and-forth to the office. I’ve been fortunate to live and work close to home for the last eight years — a true triumph in the D.C. area — so, you know, car time is at a minimum. And once I discovered listening to audio books, I really gave up the musical ghost.
With the wintry mess outside, I’ve been working from home — and the quiet is weird. I don’t like to work in silence, but the prattle of a television is distracting. I’m used to the hustle and bustle of coworkers’ conversations, phones ringing, text messages dinging . . . even on the days I’m writing furiously, I like background noise.
So I blew the dust off iTunes.
My iTunes library, safely ensconced on my laptop, is a time capsule of my life from 2004-10. Around the time I met Spencer, apparently, I stopped caring so much about music. We don’t even have “a song,” a first for any of my relationships (though we eventually chose one for our first dance). I actually wrote about this in 2011 so, you know, it’s not like this is a new problem . . . but it still startles me sometimes.
Am I doomed to listen to my college-era classics forever?
Am I going to be that person ramming old-school John Mayer down Baby J’s throat when he’d much rather enjoy the dulcet tones of whoever is Taylor Swift in a decade?
Part of me realizes I’ll likely never care about music the way I once did. Not because it’s changed so much, exactly . . . but because I have. In our teens and twenties, when everything is fresh and intense and we fall in love and out of love and back in love, maybe with ourselves, music provides the soundtrack to our wanderings. It grounds us, inspires us.
I’m never going to care about something the way I care about Hanson’s “MMMBop.” I mean, it’s just a fact.
But that’s okay. We grow, change, experience new things. It’s natural for our interests to morph, too.
Regardless, I just opened Maroon 5’s “Songs About Jane” and found “Through With You,” a song iTunes tells me I haven’t listened to since 2009.
And I sang along with every word.
I think that means something, too.